Veteran Hiring Week

Over the past week, the unemployment rate of veterans received major attention.

Termed “Veteran Hiring Week,” many employers and organizations brought to light the struggle for veterans to find jobs once discharged from service. Job fairs and hiring services were offered specifically to vets looking for jobs.

Veterans and Unemployment

high-veteran-unemployment-rateOverall, the high unemployment rate in the U.S. has been a concern over the past several years. But what makes our heart hurt more is that veterans, those who’ve sacrificed so much to serve our country, face similar unemployment rates within their population. As one NBC News contributor put it,

Post-9/11 veterans lug a steep unemployment rate that’s a point-plus taller than the civilian rate. Add to that the 34,000 troops who soon will return from Afghanistan. Bottom line: The existing bulge of ex-military job seekers threatens to further swell in a world where stripes carry no sway.

Read the full article:  Hiring our Heroes

The Cultural Gap for Unemployed Veterans

Many of us who are passionate about helping veterans shake our heads at the high veteran unemployment rate.

And while there is no excuse for not making sure our vets are taken care of once they return home, one article published by the Huffington Post (originally appearing in Harvard Business Review) offered insight into the struggle:

This cultural gap is a significant driver of veteran unemployment. In the military, we all wear our resumes on our chests; it’s readily apparent what your position and function, not to mention additional areas of expertise, are at a single glance.

Although a cultural gap would seem to appear a cheap excuse (after all- veteran reality shows were in the works showing how hard soldiers work) the article suspects some reasons why veterans struggle to find jobs:

  • Don’t speak “business language”
  • Not accustomed to business jargon, processes and workflow
  • Injury may prevent some from becoming acclimated into a job

It looks like those of us with a passion for veterans need to remember how to best help them acclimate to civilian life once they’re ready to look for a job.

Resources for Veterans Finding Jobs

Just do a quick Google search for veterans and jobs. You’ll find site after site offering help.

Although the unemployment rate is too high, it seems like any recognize the problem and are working to find solutions. Big companies like Disney and Wells Fargo are making people aware of the problem and implementing “hiring veterans” programs.

Google even announced a special  job website for veterans last fall.

As a team that loves working with veterans (we help them find housing with their VA loan benefits), we’re hopeful that the national awareness of veterans seeking jobs will get our heroes the support they need. And of course, get them and their families into a home.

Near the KC area? Let us help you… we love working with veterans and can guide you through the VA loan process or point you in the right direction to receive any of the VA benefits you need.

Choosing The Right Home for Your Family

tips-for-finding-right-house-from-va-lenderIf you’re looking into VA loan benefits, you’re most likely house hunting.

While I’m not a pro when it comes to finding real estate (but I can refer you to some if you need) – I do understand that it’s important to think ahead when buying a house.

As you tour homes in search of your next residence, here are a few tips from our team.

1. Thing Big Picture

Look ahead and come up with a 5 or 10-year-plan as you house hunt. Will you start a family, raise a family or even become empty-nesters? Will you want more room to host big gatherings? Or, do you need less room (and less space for mess…)

Think through the life chapters you hope to see while residing in the house… this will help you choose the perfect home for your family.

2. Know your Wish List

Just about everyone who purchases a home wants to make improvements down the line. The great thing about a VA loan is that since you can put ZERO down, you might have extra money on your hands right away.

However, even if some home improvements have to wait, don’t lose heart. Decide your “must haves” list before you tour homes; this will help you know how to select and negotiate for the right home for you.

3. Right House – Right Neighborhood.

So you found a great house  – it meets everything on your wish list. One last thing to do before you make the offer:  make sure it’s in the right neighborhood.

Your dream home can quickly become a nightmare if it’s not in the type of neighborhood you desire. To know more about your neighborhood consider:

  • Asking your real estate agent to help you pull crime stats, Watchdog lists, police reports, etc.
  • Driving by the house at different times and days of the week. See what the area is like during the day, at night and on the weekends.
  • Networking – if you’re moving locally, ask around and see if anyone else knows someone in the neighborhood and if they’d recommend living there.

Like we said – we’d love to refer you to a real estate agent if you’re looking to buy a home in Kansas City. These are just a few of the things we’ve learned along the way.

If you’d like to use your VA loan benefits to buy a house, please get in touch with us right away.

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

boost-credit-for-va-loanAlthough VA loans offer HUGE benefits to active and non-active service members, you still need a 620 credit score.

While we can point you in the right direction for credit restoration services if you’re in really bad shape, we also thought we’d give you a few simple ways to boost your credit score on your own.

It might be easier than you think.

Tips for Boosting your Credit

You don’t have to work in finance to improve your credit score. Here are a few simple tips:

1. Don’t Close Unused Accounts Right Away

You might think that since you don’t use a credit card often, it’s time to close out the account. But – that’s not the case. Any credit account that you’ve had a long time – used or unused – is worth keeping open. It positively impacts your credit score.

2. Fix the Mistakes on your Credit Report

When you apply to pre-qualify for a VA loan we will pull your credit. You’ll be mailed a copy of your credit report. Review the report for any errors or inaccuracies. Sometimes you can have errors removed and your credit score will go up.

3. Find a Solution with your Creditor

If you owe a large balance on a credit card, contact the credit company and ask if they will work on a resolution. Some might offer flexibility when it comes to rates, due dates and payments. It might help you make payments on time (which boosts your credit) and prevent them from having to turn you over to a debt collector.

4. Watch How Much you Charge

Liz Weston from MSN Money writes,

“You often can increase your scores by limiting your charges to 30% or less of a card’s limit; 10% is even better.”

She encourages borrowers to open a credit account or two and use the cards lightly. Having a lot of credit at your disposal but not using even 10% of it will improve your credit score.

5. Pay Down your Balances

Piggy-backing off of #4, limiting charges also means not carrying large balances – even if you pay your card balance in full every month. So, if you charge a $4,000 item one month, consider making a few small payments before the due date to reduce the outstanding balance within the billing cycle.

These are just a handful of small ways to boost your credit if you’re about to apply for financing with your VA loan benefits. If our team at Midwest VA Loans can be of service to you, please let us know!

For More Information:

10 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

9 Fast Fixes for your Credit Score

7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit Score